Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Joseph Kanyekanye on Wednesday urged government to prioritise the regeneration of human capital, a critical missing link in the country’s package of instruments for fighting it’s decade-long recession following record brain drain.
Kanyekanye was speaking during a breakfast meeting on human capital organised by International Organisation on Migration (IOM) in Harare.
According to the Zimbabwe Human Capital website, there are more than 1 400 registered professionals in the Diaspora with 45% based in South Africa, 15% in the United Kingdom and another 15% in Botswana and the rest scattered all over.
Kanyekanye said the country cannot sustain its recovery momentum without capital skills and recommended that human capital regeneration be treated as a fully-fledged economic cluster.
“Ultimately, as a country we should put human capital in the economic cluster that includes finance, economic policy rather than put human capital in the social cluster,” Kanyekanye said.
“Currently all signs are pointing to the increase in gross domestic product (GDP) and deflation so we need to address the missing link, which is human capital.”
He added that the country needed to increase investments in tertiary education and initiatives to develop entrepreneurial skills development.
“We have too much of book learning instead of technical education,” Kanyekanye observed.
He also said the country should also promote reverse brain drain by providing incentives for Diaspora professionals who are willing to come back home, but on a sector-by-sector basis, starting with the manufacturing industry – the hardest hit.
“Zimbabwe must look at which sectors we are competitive such as agro-processing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, clothing and textile industry.
Zimbabwe must provide incentives to attract and deploy human capital in these areas as priorities because we have done it before,” Kanyekanye said.
“People come back when there is a life that they can enjoy.
People will ask themselves what they will get from here. It’s not about patriotism alone because people cannot feed on patriotism.
“We have a fragile economy with a GDP growth rate of 7% but our economy must be $30 billion for us to be competitive and attract at least 40% of human capital.”